New taxes. No taxes. There was an option for everyone when the four main parties revealed their plans for the Scottish Parliament. Colin Wright reports
There was something symbolic in the way the political parties launched their manifestos for the Scottish Parliament.
The Conservatives (no MPs, no MEPs and controlling no council) launched theirs in a tiny, sweaty basement. The Lib Dems launched theirs in a larger, but still pretty cramped, room ('tall journalists to the back, please').
The Scottish National Party had the largest, albeit L-shaped, room on the first floor of its new media centre.
And Labour was too aloof to launch its manifesto in the same week or the same city as the other parties, but when it did it chose a gigantic penthouse suite with magnificent views of Glasgow.
All of which pretty much reflects each party's standing in the polls.
The policies ranged from the bargain basement (no tax please, we're Tories - or, for that matter, Labour) to the lavish (the SNP's 'Scotland's penny' - ie more tax - campaign).
The Tories began with an apology. As Scottish Conservative leader David McLetchie explained: 'On 1 May, 1997, the people of Scotland told us what they thought - we got it wrong. They said we were out of touch. We didn't listen; that our decisions and politics had London stamped all over them with little relevance or sympathy for the needs of the Scottish people.'
His policies are unlikely to set the heather on fire and are remarkably familiar - a pledge to reduce waiting times, abolition of health boards, primary care trusts and GP co-ops, and devolved responsibility. Matron would also return to haunt the wards because there is no clear and visible figurehead.
The Lib Dems would employ 1,000 extra nurses and 500 extra doctors, streamline the health service by cutting bureaucracy and setting clear objectives, and establish a new ministry of health and social services.
They would also create community partnership trusts to replace the private finance initiative and transfer ownership back to the public after 25 years.
They say that the extra costs of their proposals total£295m over the first three years, with more than half spent on additional staffing and the cash likely to come from a 1p increase in taxes.
The SNP says it would employ 200 more nurses, 75 more doctors and 500 nurses back into the profession. It would also create a national health care commission responsible for planning the future strategy.
'Scotland's penny' - which would mean the cut in basic rate income tax announced by chancellor Gordon Brown, would not be implemented in Scotland - would, claims the SNP, mean an additional£260m for health.
Labour launched its manifesto with 'Dour' Dewar at the helm, lots about 'vision' and 'opportunity' but little new information. Eight new hospitals would be funded through PFI - or, as Dewar said to wry laughter: 'We don't call it that, we call it public-private partnerships' - and double the number of one-stop clinics.
Waiting lists would fall under Labour to 10,000 below the 1997 level by 2002. There would be a Scottish NHS Direct, and the old chestnut of airline-style booking at GP surgeries.
Read Donald's lips: 'No new taxes' to fund any of this.